A sense of collaboration and community is important for the success of any school. Collaborative environments allow teachers to feel appreciated and guided in their role. It’s not rocket science: when teachers collaborate and communicate effectively, they design richer learning experiences for their students. Today, we’re proud to announce that collaboration tools are now available on Kiddom.
After months of researching, designing, engineering, and testing, all Kiddom users everywhere can now effectively collaborate with their colleagues. Hooray! 🎉
Here’s how collaboration works
Adding a collaborator is as simple as entering their email address.
As the class owner, you decide the type of access your collaborators gain, depending on each adult’s goals and roles (view vs. edit).
Share your classes with multiple adults — there is no limit to the number of collaborators each class can have.
Adding a collaborator that can view your class 👀
This means a collaborator may only see your class timeline and reports, without the ability to edit, add, or remove any assignments or students.
A collaborator that can view your class won’t be able to see or send comments to students on assignments.
This is best for administrators, instructional coaches, paraprofessionals, or support staff who may need access to student achievement data or assignments for their own focus areas.
Adding a collaborator that can edit your class ✍🏽
This means a collaborator gains modification privileges for assignments, grades, commenting, class settings, and rosters.
A collaborator that can edit your class has the ability to add additional collaborators.
This is best for co-teachers in special education, multi-age, or interdisciplinary classes who share the responsibility of creating and grading assignments.
Teamwork makes the dream work
The Kiddom team believes technology should enable teachers to share and learn best practices across their school communities. In fact, our pilot school communities intend to make big strides this year using Kiddom, all of which are using our collaboration features a little differently.
While we’re excited about collaboration and what it could mean for teachers and learners, we recognize there’s more work to be done. Over the next several weeks, we’re building co-planning feature sets for curriculum to accelerate our vision of building a collaborative education platform.
Update 9/19: Sharing curriculum with co-teachers is now available!
Editor’s note: You can only share personally identifiable information with other teachers and administrators at your school. Please confirm that sharing your class and student achievement data with others in your school community is allowed under your school (or district) technology policy.
As we move through our careers in education, all sorts of people teach us important lessons. A lesson can come in the form of a more experienced teacher who nurtures us with bits of advice and tough love. Teachers or paraprofessionals we share classrooms with bring new strategies to co-planning sessions that we continue using for years afterwards. Our students teach us all the time with their questions and engagement in our curriculum. That’s why at Kiddom, we’ve been talking to teachers, visiting classrooms, and digging into research to build a professional development menu that offers authentic learning experiences for educators.
If you work in a school, it’s likely you’ve spent hundreds, maybe even thousands, of hours in sessions meant to support you in your growth as an educator. At Kiddom, we know that the best of those sessions are those that connect directly to your day-to-day practice, supply you with concrete strategies, and give you flexibility to work at your own pace and collaboratewith your peers.
We believe educators deserve on-going education that is:
Personalized: Our virtual consults help us tailor the workshops we offer to the needs and context of your school community. Our resources are customizable so that they can be useful immediately, because we know you want to start using new strategies in your classroom now.
Grounded in Teacher Experience: We have a team of current and former teachers on staff developing resources based on research-backed practices that we’ve used in our own classrooms. Our in-depth guides can jump-start your exploration of topics like blended learning or standards-based grading.
Inquiry-Based and Exploratory: You don’t want to be lectured at any more than your students do. We design sessions that are self-guided if that’s your style, or collaborative workshops to support your teachers in teams.
Kiddom facilitates a wide range of workshops with teams of educators, from basic account set-up and launch sessions to more in-depth cycles of data workshops using student mastery reports. We can also provide materials for teacher leaders and administration to run their own workshops at school to build in-house expertise and leadership.
Excited? We are too! To get started, explore our menu of professional development offerings and schedule a free consult. If you don’t see any offerings that match your needs, we can work to create custom sessions once we get to know you and your school via an initial consult.
I teach a variety of courses at a high school for overage, under-credited students in New York City. I’ve used online resources to support instruction for years, but I needed a more creative solution for students with real barriers to attendance and at risk of aging out of high school. To more appropriately meet their needs, I designed and piloted a self-paced learning program offering thirteen different courses, all supported by some form of online content.
This cohort of students earned over 100 credits* over the course of the school year, proving the efficacy of my program. As a result, my school decided to allow me to continue experimenting with the program and build it out further. I was excited to continue, but the work was exhausting.
The 21st century educator’s juggle (mandated systems not pictured). Yikes!
My students were exploring content provided by Khan Academy, IXL, Duolingo, Everfi, Empower3000, Quill, A.D.A.M, and more. These providers each have their own database and the student achievement data doesn’t necessarily flow from one to other. So I spent an unsustainable amount of time transferring data from each of these content providers into my gradebook to have one place that could show me a holistic picture of where my students were academically. 21st century learners are used to obtaining feedback in real-time but unfortunately, I could never keep up with their pace and so they often asked, “why haven’t you updated my grade, yet?”
This “interoperability” problem is what inspired me to take on the Curriculum Specialist role at Kiddom. As a teacher, I saw first-hand that connecting great content directly to a teacher’s workflow was something they valued. Building and consolidating the “teacher toolbelt” is integral to their mission. I still teach part-time, and while the availability of impactful teaching resources has increased, the problem of juggling data from each resource continues to persist (and irritate).
Working at Kiddom, I realized and was surprised by how difficult it was to connect with education technology companies that want to invest the time to work together and solve interoperability. We want the same thing (to support teachers and learners), so I optimistically believe this is a possibility.
Working together effectively means we’ll all win, especially students.
If you’re a K-12 content provider and you’re reading this, please consider it an open invitation to reach out and connect with me at Kiddom. I’ve probably used your materials and I want to share them with more educators. While sharing your platform directly with teachers might be beneficial, I can’t help but think about how I might be perpetuating the demands on teachers’ time caused by the need to manually transfer data.
Interoperability is my passion. Let’s work together to help teachers use their limited resources in the most efficient way possible to positively impact students.
Well-designed and differentiated curriculum allows students to more meaningfully connect with content, but designing it can be cumbersome. That’s why at Kiddom, we’re excited to give teachers a sneak peek at what we’ve been working on: curated playlists.
Why curate playlists?
One of the hardest things about planning a blended learning class is finding the right instructional materials. As teachers, we develop and own our teaching style. It’s hard to give up your “teacher identity” by accepting videos or resources created by someone else. Some teachers (admittedly, like us) have spent countless hours recording and editing themselves. While that may feel truer to your teaching practice, it’s difficult to sustain given the time (and resource) constraints of school. The alternative, finding the right resource aligned to your students’ needs, can be equally time consuming. We can’t tell you how many hours of educational videos and songs we’ve watched to find the best fit for our classes.
So why bother if it’s so difficult? Well, one generalized lesson per day to address the “average” student doesn’t do enough to meet the diverse needs of every student in the classroom. It’s also difficult to support soft skills like self-management and curiosity when you’re teaching one lesson to the entire class. This is why we’re thoughtfully curating curriculum resources for you. We encourage you to be familiar with the resources we’ve gathered, but we hope to earn your trust in the quality resources we pulled together to meet your students’ unique needs. We’re dedicated to helping you find more time to connect with and inspire students.
To get all of our curated playlists, click here. Then copy and paste the assignments directly into Kiddom’s Planner.
How do we evaluate our playlists?
Our playlists are peer-reviewed and checked for rigor, flow, and alignment.
FLOW: How well do the topics move from one lesson to the next?
RIGOR: Are the tasks at an appropriate grade level to be accessible and still provide a challenge. Do the tasks require conceptual understanding and application of content?
STANDARDS ALIGNMENT: Are the assessments and standards clearly aligned? Does the content align to multiple standards? How well does the content span across grade levels and across content?
How do we select resources?
Each group of resources, which we’re calling a playlist, is thoughtfully curated to include the best options for learning and practicing a new skill. When selecting resources for playlists, we’re looking for content that meets the criteria for Universal Design for Learning (UDL), “a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn.” We look for lessons that provide multiple means of representation such as audio, visual, and text support. We seek activities to practice those skills that provide multiple means of engagement by optimizing relevance through real life application. Finally, we designed culminating assessments to support planning and strategy development, optimize individual choice and autonomy, use multiple media for communication, and develop self-assessment and reflection.
As a free platform, we first seek the best free resources so that they’re universally accessible. But we also incorporate resources from providers based on teacher request. We also include resources that have limited free practices or a free trial version.
Create your own playlist:
We’d love your feedback on our playlists. Are they useful? Are they effective? How would you use them? Did you make one you’d like to add?
I teach at a non-traditional high school for non-traditional students in New York City. Many of my students struggle with poor attendance due to insecure housing situations. To better support my students, I decided to change the structure of my class by providing flexible due dates and access to learning materials outside of school. I made these changes knowing the tools I was using at the time wouldn’t support self-paced learning, but I assumed I’d be able to adopt new platforms to assist with the transition. Finding technology that supported asynchronous learning however, proved harder than I expected. I explored a plethora of education technology tools, but found much of the same rigidity; either I had to send assignments to the entire class or I had to choose a specific due date. I also needed to use separate tools for sending, receiving, and grading the assignments.
Kiddom’s Planner on the other hand, allows me to meet the unique needs of my students in one collaborative learning platform. As a teacher, I’ve fallen in love with it.
Building a Strong Base
Planner allows teachers to “get ahead” by organizing learning activities for students within units. This could be ideal for blended learning or flipped classrooms, but it’s perfect for my self-paced class. I developed my classes with a foundation of lessons based on curriculum I taught year over year. The lessons and assignments that worked well are the backbone of the class and are the ones I make available for students to access today. I created these learning activities in Planner first, since I know I can use them over and over again. The icing on the cake is the ability to drag-and-drop assignments over to individual students’ timelines (timeline is where where they access assignments).
Now I can easily send a student the next assignment after they demonstrate mastery. They no longer have to wait for their peers to move on, and that’s wonderful.
Playlists to Personalize Pacing
An added benefit to using Planner is that I can also personalize the number of assignments I share with a student at any given time.
Some students (like adults) thrive on knowing what’s coming and what assignments or tasks they must complete. Others may feel overwhelmed when they have too many things to do and don’t know where to start. With Planner, I have the option to store groups of related assignments in a playlist. With playlists, I can quickly assign a complete set of assignments and resources or share individual assignments from the playlists, depending on how much I know that student can take on.
In a self-paced class, having a tool that allows you to match the pace of every student’s workflow is revolutionary.
Ready for Remediation
Sometimes, you don’t have time to reinvent the wheel. With Planner, I can also access Kiddom’s Library of resources, including quizzes, lessons, videos, and more from Khan Academy, CK-12, ClassHook, and Newsela.
As I mentioned previously, my curriculum is designed over years of testing and adjusting, so I know which assignments work to support learning for most students. However, as teachers we know all students are unique and some may need less or additional support. Recently, I’ve been supplementing each unit in my Planner with differentiated and remediated playlists. I take advantage of the relevant content available in Library so I don’t have to make an entire new lesson myself. Sometimes students benefit from hearing the same idea via a different means of communication or from repetition. I keep these additional learning materials available to intervene as soon as students demonstrate a misconception.
Create remediation assignments in advance as a playlist, then assign based on student need.
Possibly the best thing about Planner is that curriculum development won’t have to start from scratch next year. The curriculum I designed is accessible in every class I make in Kiddom. So next year, I already have all of my lessons and learning activities in one place for the next cohort of learners. I’m looking forward to using this strong foundation to find even more ways to meet student needs and develop projects that allow them to explore their interests.
Today, we released a redesigned student experience on Kiddom to help 21st century learners access and submit work, track their own progress, and solicit feedback from teachers in real-time, from one place.
Over the past century, education technology has often left students out of the equation. That’s unfortunate, because students today move fast and are incredibly tech-savvy. At Kiddom, we believe students shouldn’t have to wait until progress reports are printed to learn where they stand in class or on specific skills. Students shouldn’t have to wait to see their teachers in person to pose clarifying questions or solicit feedback on an assignment. And from what we’ve gathered, teachers are constantly looking for ways to empower students to take control of their learning. With our redesigned student experience, the possibilities of student ownership are endless.
Timeline — Everything in One Place
When students login and click into their class, they’ll be greeted by their Timeline. Timeline allows students to view assignments (past, present, and upcoming) from one place. This not only includes teacher-created assignments, but also all the Khan Academy videos, CK-12 exercises, CommonLit readings, and other resources their teacher might’ve assigned for differentiation purposes via Kiddom’s Library of resources.
Submitting Work and Soliciting Feedback Made Easy
When students click on an assignment from their Timeline, they’ll be able to see any instructions or attachments their teacher may have included, as well as the standards or skills has appended to the assignment. Students may upload and submit their own work and also engage in a discussion with their teacher regarding the assignment.
Reports — Monitor Progress and Self-Advocate
When students can actively monitor their progress in class, they’re more likely to advocate for themselves. With our redesigned Reports, students can track their overall class progress, as well as progress on individual standards and skills — all in real-time. This means they finally have the data they need, when they need it.
We’re Just Getting Started
The new student experience has been long overdue. And while we’re incredibly excited about the positive impact it will make in classrooms around the world, there’s still a lot more work to be done. Over the next several months and into the next school year, we’re going to focus on adding community features to accelerate our vision of building a collaborative education platform. In the meantime, let us know what you think of the new student experience with a comment or chat with us directly using the in-app chat tool. Happy teaching and learning!
Editor’s note: We’re still testing the new Kiddom student experience. If your students signed up before Friday, April 21, 2017, they may not experience the new Kiddom just yet. We plan to conclude testing on Friday, April 28, 2017, at which time all students will be on the redesigned student experience. For more information, contact our support team.